Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Taxonomy of Surprise


In some backwaters of philosophy, it's still problematic to associate brain states with concepts as multifarious as "surprising", which we furthermore doubt needs referents in the form of "feelings" to anchor its meaning, any more than "accidental" would need mooring in the feelings zone.

Feelings may accompany discovering it's snowing, not that sunny spring day you so rightfully anticipated. Do you leap for joy because snow is, on the whole, a more fun outcome, with more unexplored potential? Do you curse the fates and shake your fist at the heavens? Do you shrug it off? Do you text a friend? So many questions, too many circumstances. Clearly, words have clear meanings no thanks to the myriad duties to which they're put; in spite of that.

However the idea that the project in philosophy is to get really clear on what "surprising" really means, such that those elusive brain states now emerge, is to cling to a type of nominalism many who think of themselves as philosophers worked hard to let go of. We don't want to re-brainwash ourselves into imagining all these "mental states" that furthermore, in the background, get to be neural signatures.

That way lies putting a skull cap on a dude to see how full of sarcasm he might be, or to get that number for melancholia. We're talking throwback phrenology, but with hands on signals instead of skull shape. Same diff? Lets just say I'm a skeptic. "Surprising" is a social construct mapping to a gazillion situations we overtly encounter in everyday life. No neural maps need apply (and don't, is my guess).

Friday, April 12, 2024

Pro Human PR

Beautiful Ai video based on a poem by ChatGPT